International Association for School Libraries Conference Report

By Jenny Ryan

I have just returned from the most wonderful conference focusing on information literacy and school libraries. The conference, at which over 33 countries were represented, was held by the International Association for School Libraries (IASL) in Malmo, Sweden, on 6-10
August 2000. What an incredible atmosphere, with ideas and input from such a diverse group of people! Some of the countries represented were South Africa, Botswana, Ethiopia, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Turkey, Chile, Israel, Malaysia, Japan, Canada and USA - to mention but a few.

We heard a report from Sandy Zinn, Subject Advisor for Information Literacy in the West Cape Department of Education (South Africa), who told us about their project on information literacy and outcomes-based education. James Henri, Linda Langford, Lyn Hay (all from Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga), Margaret Butterworth (PhD student, Curtin University, Perth), Susan de Marca (PhD student, University of Melbourne) and Anne Clyde (currently working at the University of Iceland and IASL webmaster) presented papers with great flair and insight. The SLAV (School Library Association of Victoria) team of Mary Manning, Gerry Ferreter and Susan de Marca presented materials for International School Library Day (16 October). My colleague Steph Capra and I had the opportunity to display our information literacy books (ILPO - Information Literacy Planning Overview) as the past winners of the IASL/SIRS award. Our work was greeted warmly and it would seem that most countries face similar dilemmas in integrating information literacy into the curriculum. Maybe we will see ILPO in Portuguese, Danish or Swedish in the future.

Reports from the conference may be viewed on the IASL Website - School Libraries Online at <>. You can see some photos of Australians belting out 'Waltzing Matilda' at the gala function held in the amazingly beautiful renaissance Malmo Town Hall at <> (other countries had to sing as well), and serious presenters doing a great job at <> and<>.

Membership of IASL has provided an international perspective to our work in school libraries. We in Australia have a diverse range of support for our work, but overall we are in an enviable position when listening to the lack of support offered to those in other countries. At least we have electricity and toilets in most of our schools! We have Teacher Librarian education programs of the highest standard, school libraries in almost all of our schools, and a commitment by most education systems to providing a trained professional in the role of Teacher Librarian. We have a strong and dedicated professional group provided by ASLA (Australian School Library Association), the state and territory groups and the ALIA (Australian Library and Information Association) school sections. These are all goals that are aspired to by many other countries, and are worth fighting to retain and develop in our own country. We mustn't take these things for granted.

We are looking forward to the next IASL conference, which is to be held a little closer to home in Auckland, New Zealand, on 9-12 July 2001. Invited plenary presenters include Ken Haycock, Carol Kuhlthau, Mike Eisenberg, Ross Todd, Penny Moore, Gwen Gawith and Russell Bishop.

Even if you don't present a paper, this is a fantastic opportunity to attend an international conference and support our neighbours We hope to have a large contingent of Australians attending this next conference. Within IASL, we represent the recently renamed Oceania region, which includes Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. The 2001 conference is our opportunity to show the rest of the world some of the great projects and research that are happening in our region. I urge you all to consider attending or presenting at this conference. Details for submitting proposals can be found on the Contio MC Events Website at <>.

We also congratulate James Henri upon his recent appointment to the position of vice president of IASL. At the Malmo conference I was formally welcomed as the newly appointed director for Oceania. If you have any questions relating to IASL or the New Zealand conference please do not hesitate to email me at <[email protected]>.

Jenny Ryan

IASL Director, Oceania Region